The Oxfam bookshop at the far end of the Harborne High St combines the value you'd expect from a secondhand bookseller and the organised environment of a retail bookshop, bringing charity and book browsing together. Fantastic idea.
Harborne is one of those areas that is blessed with both a large number of charity shops and a reasonably well-to-do and educated local community. This makes for occasional rich pickings along the main high street, which has 7 or 8 charity outlets of various denominations. Depending on which end of the High Street you start at, Oxfam will either be the first or last you visit as it is situated at the south end, just opposite the Waitrose supermarket (Harborne has a Waitrose as it's main supermarket - that ought to tell you everything you need to know about the demographics at work here)
The outlet is a fairly standard Oxfam layout and it a mixture of clothes, books and bric-a-brac that the public have donated and a selection of the stock which appears in all Oxfam shops; fair trade coffee, Guatemalan Worry People - you know the type of thing. As there is an Oxfam bookshop at the other end of the High Street, the records and books available here tend to be those that didn't make the cut, but that's not to say you won't find a gem if you're lucky. The same, of course, goes for the clothes and other stock. For the clothes there is a changing cubicle, so you don't have to perform guesswork regarding sizes.
Harbourne is a place which is blessed with a variety of charity shops and there are few better than Oxfam. As I noted with regards to Kings Heath some people have claimed that the proliferation of charity shops signals a decline in standards and once more I would argue that those people have not yet ventured inside one of these wonderful establishments. Oxfam appear to stock a particularly high calibre of goods for a charity shop and whether its clothes or other knick knacks you are after then there is sure to be something in store which will appeal. As ever the staff here work tirelessly without pay and are always of the utmost help to the customers. I would urge more people to take time out of their day and pay Oxfam a visit, not only will you be doing a good deed but you might just like what you find.
Not to be confused with Oxfam bookshop a little further down the High Street, this is a long established charity shop that is worthy of note for its rather fab window displays which has featured vintage clad mannequins in shopping trolleys (a nod to the students who sometimes come in here to buy fancy dress perhaps?!) amongst other things. Inside you'll find a variety of nice things - including high-end labels (in sadly, often teensy sizes), a decent vinyl selection and a good range of nonfiction and fiction books. Their cards are good and I've bought some unusual pieces of jewellery from here over the years - although compared to other charity shops in the village they are a bit pricier than you'd expect. Ethical detergents, washing powders etc and fair trade chocolate and notebooks are also available and whilst staff seem to change on a regular basis - I guess they get a lot of requests from volunteers - the people who work here always seem very jolly.
This shop is really good for new stuff, fairtrade gifts and food, which I really love. They also have good second hand clothes. Often really good labels.
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